Lesson 5: How to Communicate with Customers Via Google
Hey, everybody! We’ve finally reached the finale of our GBP 101 learning series. Before we dive into lesson 5, let’s do a little recap to start. In lesson 1, we covered the basics of setting up a Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business). From there, we went on to discuss GBP optimization strategies, how to publish posts through Google (and what is worth publishing), and most recently, how your business should get started with handling customer reviews.
To close out GBP 101, we’ll be discussing how to communicate with customers via Google.
No matter the product your business provides, the way in which consumers are able to communicate with your company is a deciding factor.
A Forrester study revealed that 68% of consumers, when deciding where to make a purchase, are more likely to go with a business that offers convenient communication methods.
Organizations with superior communication channels are more successful, as indicated by 19-point higher net promoter scores, 9.5% increased customer satisfaction, and 5% or greater growth.
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You likely get where we’re going with this, but to summarize, it’s never been more important to give customers options when it comes to getting in touch with you. Building consumer trust and establishing a solid brand reputation online largely hinges on your ability to forge authentic relationships with your audience.
Whether customers want to express their concerns about a product they received or want a virtual tour of your facilities, going the extra mile to accommodate their requests and facilitate easy communication can be a big win for your business.
So, with that, we've put together the GBP communication channels you need to be using today.
We’re living in the age of instant knowledge, where consumers expect to be able to find answers to their questions in a flash. Messaging is great for this.
For this reason, customers are relying less on phone calls and in-person visits to get in touch with your business, and instead, are turning to solutions like messaging through Google.
With messaging enabled, customers can start a real-time conversation with your business through your listing on search results. This essentially provides customers with the means to have a text-like conversation with your business and enables you to send photos, customize automated welcome messages, and share helpful information - without ever leaving your Google page.
Did someone say frictionless?
We covered this in lesson 4, but it’s worth repeating. Responding to Google reviews is not only an effective way to communicate with customers, but it also helps boost your local search ranking. BrightLocal found that online reviews are now the second most important factor for local pack rankings.
Through your GBP account, you can respond to any and all Google reviews your business receives. Some businesses make it a priority to respond to every single review they get. Others will only focus on replying to negative reviews. How your business handles review response is up to you.
But, there is best practice. We recommend every business respond to all reviews within 24 hours. Doing so helps your business to excel in a number of different categories - each of which we will explain in more depth in GBP 201 lesson 3.
If you’re having trouble staying on top of responding to reviews, Widewail’s Engage is a great way to offload some of your review management responsibilities and benefit from people-powered review response services.
In today’s world, video is no longer a new frontier that organizations have yet to explore. But many businesses haven’t fully embraced the power of video and its ability to amplify existing marketing and customer service efforts.
For starters, translating text-based documents such as FAQs, instructional guides, and blog posts into video content is a great (and simple) way to churn out some videos that customers will be sure to appreciate.
Now, if we’re talking real-time video communication with customers, Google Hangouts enables you to video chat with customers through your GBP account. Starting Hangouts is a piece of cake, and can be very much appreciated for customers who prefer that face-to-face level of customer support. Further, video calls have become the new norm in the wake of the pandemic.
Google’s Q&A tool is a great way for you to get to know your customers and vice versa. It’s also an awesome platform to enable customers to ask any questions they may have and receive (ideally) thoughtful answers from your business.
The tool is quite flexible, allowing customers and organizations to both ask and answer questions. People can “like” questions or answers, and the ones with the most likes will be displayed on the front page of your GBP listing. Since customers have the ability to respond to other customers’ questions, it’s important that you closely monitor this tool and ensure you’re providing accurate answers and not leaving it up to strangers to respond.
When handled properly, Google’s Q&A tool enables meaningful communication between customers and your business and gives you a sense of what the most common questions are surrounding your business.
If you really want to give customers an immersive experience with your business, Google allows you to create your own 360° virtual tour that can be displayed on your GBP profile. Giving customers the ability to tour your store from the comfort of their own homes is an effective way to improve the user experience and make it easier for customers to know what you’re all about. If you've spent a lot of time and/or money curating a specific look and feel at your business, utilizing the virtual tours featuring is a great way to give potential customers a preview. You likely designed the experience to attract a certain type of buyer. Make sure to capture target customers via the GBP.
Google reports that GBP listings with photos and a virtual tour are twice as likely to generate interest. Whether you opt to hire a trusted photographer to capture the right images or want to take on the job yourself, creating a virtual tour may be the hook needed to draw more customers in.
Congrats on completing GBP 101 by Widewail Academy.
You are now many steps closer to being the "GBP expert" at your company.
With the basics of GBP behind us, we’ll be turning our attention to some more advanced GBP topics in our next learning series, which we’re aptly naming GBP 201. With the proper foundation in place, we’re excited to dig a little deeper in this next learning series and share our insights with you! At a high level, GBP 201 will enable you to:
- Optimize your GBP profile with conversions in mind
- Adjust your GBP information to help you rank higher in local search results
- Use Google Insights to get an inside look at how people find your business listing on the web.
- Nest GBP department listings to improve brand visibility and connect with more customers
- Set up your GBP Q&A section.
Getting Started with Google Customer Reviews